British Sugar Zero Waste Sugar Beet Refinery
Develop zero-waste processes through integrated plant design.
Manufacturing facilities generate waste material, energy and emissions during production. A particularly difficult issue to deal with is waste carbon-dioxide emissions and low-grade heat waste.
British Sugar’s plant in Wissington, Norfolk is an example of a zero-waste plant converting all the raw material (sugar beet) input into sustainable products. Each year the plant processes the UKs entire sugar beet crop (approximately 7 million tonnes) into a variety of streams:
- Topsoil on the sugar beet is cleaned off, recovered and sold under the brand TOPSOIL (450,000 tonnes pa)
- Stone is also washed off the crop and graded for sale into construction use (70,000 tonnes pa)
- Solid, fibrous by-products are used a high-energy animal feed
- Lime by-products are sold as soil improvers under the brand LimeX (425,000 tonnes pa)
- The main products are a variety of sugar grades for various applications (1 million tonnes pa)
- Betaine is produced as a by-product which is a natural product used in fish feed
- Bioethanol is also made at the plant from the sugars (70 million litres pa)
- Tomatoes are grown in the UKs largest greenhouse (11 hectares) using the low grade heat and CO₂ generated from the process
- A combined heat and power (CHP) plant provides steam and electricity for the manufacturing process, with excess electricity sold to the grid